Monday, August 15, 2011

The Coeur d'Alene Triathlon aka My Olympic Finish...

If you've been reading for a while, you know that I have been training for an Olympic distance triathlon.  My race was Saturday and it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life...
In other triathlons I have competed in, there are several, small waves to start.  Not so in this race.  There were only three waves for more than 500 athletes.  That's a lot of people standing on one stretch of beach, and a lot of bodies entering the water at the same time.  This is also the first race start that has been co-ed.  I wrestled quite a bit with my swim-start strategy.  I finally decided to wait for the fast starts to enter the water and take my time a bit so that I wasn't caught in the initial rush...
So, while it looks like I'm just strolling into the water...this was all part of the strategic plan!  I have been swimming in the lake several times and this morning was the warmest and calmest I have seen the water. 
The planning and training paid off.  I had a great, strong swim start and there were no kicks, pulls or random kayak collisions in this race!  In fact, this was the best swim I have had in a triathlon.  Yay!
I had only one goal for this race...FINISH!  I have been obsessed with this race, agonizing over whether or not I would be able to finish.  One of my worries was that I wouldn't be able to complete each stage within the given time amounts.  Leaving the water feeling strong, and not last, was an excellent position for me.  I felt good and I knew I had achieved what I wanted to in the water.
My transition was speedy.  Happily, I have competed in enough triathlons to have a good packing list and transition zone plan.  I had everything I needed at my fingertips and I was out on the bike course quickly.
My biggest fan, Kyle, was waiting just around the corner from the transition zone and caught me heading out on the toughest bike ride ever.  They call this the "Scenic Course"...this bike ride is crazy.  The course taunts you at every comes a little take a's another hill...oh guess what?  the mother of all hills is waiting just around the corner!  You know when race officials warn you that "there's a sharp corner and you need to gear down" you're in trouble!  Fortunately I had ridden the course twice with my amazing training friend Melissa.  There are so many hills you have to just laugh, to keep from crying!  At one point I passed a fellow rider who said, "they told me that last hill was the last one!"  I wasn't sure what to say, so I told her the truth.  "It's the steepest one, but you actually have four more hills left.  Sorry!"    

It is 25 scenic miles...but they're full of hills!  Enough said!
My biggest fan had time for breakfast before he caught this series of pictures.  Happily, I'm riding back into town and heading for my second transition.  A quick check at my bike odometer told me that I had completed the ride faster than I had in training and I was feeling great.  My nutrition was right where it was supposed to be and I was ready to run.

Well...I was ready to run for a mile anyway.  I had trained on the running course, and I was glad that I knew where I was and had already established important landmarks.  The run was tough for me though.  Next year I am going to need to carry some water with me as I got a bit dehydrated and hit a wall.  Fortunately, I didn't have to give up and walk the whole thing.  I tried to settle into my music and pace myself with other racers to keep going.  I pushed really, really hard...

...and finally rounded the corner to the last half mile.  I was able to finish running, and smiling!

The Finish Line is in sight! 
1 mile swimming
25 up hill miles on my bike
6 miles running 

Three years ago, I had serious doubts that I could finish a sprint triathlon and now here I am with my first Olympic Finish

I feel a bit like I am receiving an award and need to thank people...
* Thanks Kyle aka My Biggest Fan...I was a bit obsessed with this race.  Thanks for your unwavering support and unending supply of pep talks.
* Thanks Melissa aka My Amazing Training Friend...You really made me believe I could finish this race.  I would never have ridden or swam as much as I did without you.
* Thanks Amanda aka My Triathlon Coach...Your training calender gave me the strength and confidence I needed for this race.  And, you're just pure inspiration!
* Thanks Tessa aka My Amazing Supportive Friend...I would never have started this crazy path to triathlons without you.  I love that you're at every race and I love that you're such a cheerleader for everyone!


  1. This is a great story Jen! Major congrats on your achievement! Awesome :)

  2. Wow, amazing! I don't know that I could ever push myself that hard physically and I'm always in awe of people who do!


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